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Thread: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

  1. #11

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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    That's a nice picture, Randy.

    Drew, that is graffiti, not tags. (There might be a small tag under the dog.) Ironically, you can see that in the second photo, after the art was erased, someone put a big tag on the far wall, a little faded. The art was way better looking and protected the area from tagging, they should have left it.

  2. #12

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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Dunn View Post
    This is not that easy to answer as it involves a lot of variables that that depend both on the original 4x5 and the scanner/operator. “Resolution Degrading” is subjective as well, what you consider degrading another person may not, especially when viewed far enough away to take in such a large print. All things being equal you shouldn’t have a problem going to that much of an enlargement. Think of it another way. If you print a 35mm negative full frame on a 17x22” size paper, accounting for borders (proportionally they are different so you will have wider borders top and bottom) it’s around a 15x enlargement. That will be pretty close to going from 4x5 to a 6’x8’ print. However there is a larger issue with going that big.

    Most fine art printers do not go to 6’ wide (72”), they go to 60”. There are a few that go to 64” but most paper manufacturers that make fine art paper only go to 60”. So if you are going to a 64” print you are really limiting your paper choices. If you are going to go larger than 60” you will be printing on graphic arts printers, not fine art printers. So not only are your paper choices limited because of the 72" size you cannot get the most out of your scanned 4x5 because it is being printed on a graphic arts printer and media as opposed to a fine art printer. Again, these are subjective choices but they do need to be taken into consideration. What I would recommend is getting a really well done scan and printing on a 60” fine art printer.

    If you look at my website and go to the blog section you can see some of my work with people standing next to it for scale. I print all of my own work on a 60” fine art printer and most of those works are around 5’x7’ to 5’x8’.

    Hope this helps.

    -Joshua
    www.joshuadunnphotography.com
    Joshua,

    Thanks for your input! I checked out your website, and I have to say, your work is fantastic. Your interior shots remind me of Candida Höfer's work.

    Did you use a medium format back for some of your work?

    Anyway, yeah, you're right about the printer limitation. I probably won't go higher than 60", at least at first, but I'm sure I'll go more than 60" horizontally. I have a medium format 6x17 back that I was thinking of using for landscape photography and blowing it up as well, 60" vertically and more than 120" horizontally. Do you think I could get results if I use, say, Fuji Velvia 50 with a medium format 6x17 back?

    Thanks again!

  3. #13

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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post
    Do you think I could get results if I use, say, Fuji Velvia 50 with a medium format 6x17 back?
    Potentially yes - it's not difficult to take a 6300ppi scan of 120 on a Flextight (which works out to be somewhere over 6000ppi, allowing for small variances in mechanical precision) - you need to scan the film with the 24x36x6 holder, stepping it over with a decent overlap for three scans, then stitch it with your preferred software. Works rather well, & puts you at around 46-47" at 300ppi on the short side. The results can be rather mind-blowing if your camera has a really good lens & the film was flat enough. That said, the 6gb file you're going to have from 6x17 at that resolution is not going to be fun to deal with on anything other than a decently high powered machine.

    I'd also preferentially use negative film for sharper results unless the colour palette of Velvia is essential.

    Other couple of things: disregard the claims being made about the supposed resolution of the Flextight - it delivers 2040 at the 4x5 settings with excellent MTF performance (the bit that really matters) - the claims otherwise are based on a fundamental/ wilful lack of understanding (and lack of knowledge/ experience) about how it operates.
    With regard to drum scanners it's a question of how much resolution of 'granularity' you want - anything over 2540-3000ppi is realistically going beyond the abilities of the lens/ camera/ 4x5 film flatness to hold everything in adequately precise relationships, let alone your tripod & subject's abilities to hold still! My own experience tends towards aiming for a low 2000's resolution & using sensible upscaling (preserve details 2.0 is pretty amazingly good at this) if needed to ensure that print resolution doesn't drop too far below 225-250ppi which is where I find resolution degradation becomes really objectionable at moderately close distance.

  4. #14
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    Thank you, reddesert!

    The location was popular with wedding photographers.

    Nearly every weekend, rain or shine a large black bus limo would show up, disgorging 20 people for drinks and posing. In rain it was dry under the bridge.

    I shot pics of them and waved.

    After sandblasting they never returned. Sad...


    Quote Originally Posted by reddesert View Post
    That's a nice picture, Randy.

    Drew, that is graffiti, not tags. (There might be a small tag under the dog.) Ironically, you can see that in the second photo, after the art was erased, someone put a big tag on the far wall, a little faded. The art was way better looking and protected the area from tagging, they should have left it.
    sin eater

  5. #15

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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    Thank you for the comparison to Höfer, that's a huge compliment.

    For most of the work on my website I used a multiple row, high dynamic range focused stacked process shot on a full frame DSLR with a 50mm prime. I have (and will in the future) used medium format backs. But bouncing between film and digital is bad enough and the medium format camera i want is $50K so it's pretty much out of reach right now.

    As far as going from a 6x17 format to a 60x170, yes it is possible but there a lot of technical considerations. Obviously it needs to be a technically near perfect shot, and then I would recommend drum scanning it. That will offset ay problems with film flatness or newton rings. With the right drum scanner (some have lower resolution than you might think) you will be able to get any size you need. Not every image looks good printed that large so conceptually it needs to make sense to the viewer. Don't just print large because you can. You are also talking about a 14’ print, which has its own considerations including framing and finding a wall it will fit on. Most galleries don't have a single wall space that large. Many people buy "smaller" versions of my work not because they can't afford the larger print, it's because they don't have anywhere they can put it and those are prints 8' in length.

    Hope this helps!

    -Joshua
    Last edited by Joshua Dunn; 16-Jun-2019 at 12:45. Reason: Wrote “ instead of ‘

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    There are a couple of pros in this area who use 617 film cameras for 10 ft wide inkjet blowups. These go to public venues like airport lobbies and park visitor centers and are suitable for that kind of application. It's all colored fuzz up close of course.

  7. #17
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    I have never done this, so this idea is total speculation:

    One way to get an idea of the possible resolution might be to shoot a resolution target and put the negative, or a part of a negative under a Macroscope. Something with variable magnification.

    What is seen at 4x ill be about what would be seen at an enlargement size of 8x10, or 80 sq inches.
    At 10x the equivalent enlargement would be close to 14 x 14, or 200 inches square.

    Do I have this right?
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    Just look at the image on the groundglass through a 20X loupe and realize that's the BEST it can be.

  9. #19

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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    But gang members call it competition for tagging surface, and sometimes shoot the people doing it.
    We've come a long way since the cave man days haven't we?

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How Large Can I Print a 4x5 Drum-Scanned Negative Before The Resolution Degrades?

    Cave men were probably more humane. They were better artists too. I've talked to several city-sponsored street muralists lately. The idea is to cover the concrete with something more interesting before the gangbangers and brat taggers get to it. But then they just go ahead and tag it atop the mural afterwards. But if gang markings are already there, and the muralists paint over it, there have been several incidents where there have been drive-bys gunning down the painters, including in SF. Now some of these muralists are demanding and getting armed police protection on location while they work.

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